The release of the iPhone by Apple Inc. in 2007 has contributed to the wide use of smartphones, leading a touch user interface (UI) to become a global standard and threaten to replace the role of a keyboard and a mouse, the representative UIs in the last half century. In particular, projected capacitive touch technology has allowed the emergence of the tablet PC, which comes without a physical keyboard, and been rapidly employed across a wide range of applications, such as touch notebook PCs, all-in-one (AIO) PCs, monitors, and even automotive devices.
The capacitive touch solution currently accounts for more than 90% of the touch panel market. Following the success of the iPhone, advantages of capacitive touch technology, including multi-touch sensing, smooth touch experiences, design, ease of use, and excellent surface hardness, were further emphasized, enabling it to become a standard touch solution for mobile devices and grow as a mainstream technology. Meanwhile, a rapid transition is being made to single-layer touch sensors, such as G2 and G1 types that are slimmer and lighter than double-layer touch sensors, such as GFF and GG types, which used to be widely employed in the early versions of touch mobile phones. In addition, touch, panel, and set makers across the globe are in fierce competition to take the lead in the touch market by developing a core technology like in/on-cell touch sensors, which are display integrated types.
Accordingly, IHS publishes a key patent analysis report on capacitive touch sensor technology. Based on quantitative analyses, this report discusses application trends of the related US patents, reviewing them by structure—the double-layer touch sensor, the single-layer touch sensor, and the in/on-cell touch sensor. It also provides in-depth analyses of the key patents regarding the technology. This report should be able to help understanding the development trends in capacitive touch sensor technology and key patent technologies.